Alas, Poor Scrappy: A nonlethal version. Even if you thought Roger was annoying, it's really hard to not feel sorry for him after he's told Jessica was caught playing patty-cake with Acme and looks over their pictures in his wallet with a heartbroken expression.
Jessica's "You have no idea what it's like being a woman looking the way I do" line: Was she talking about men ogling her... or people not taking her seriously because she's a toon?Or maybeboth? For that matter, could she also be referring to her implied outsider status, since looking too human-like makes her stand out among most Toons, but being a Toon means she'll never fully fit in among humans? And then there's her Femme Fatale appearance, which ensures everyone(except Roger)always thinks the worst of her?
Following that, Eddie's response to her plight is "You don't know how hard it is being a man...looking at a woman looking the way you do". Is it because Jessica is simply so distractingly gorgeous or does it go deeper, in that human men want to engage in romantic or even sexual affairs with toons like her, but human-toon relationships are seen as a kind of "social taboo"?
When Doom is about to dip Roger at the Terminal Bar, Eddie has Dolores pour a double bourbon for Roger thinking his chaotic reaction to alcohol might shake him loose. Eddie offers the drink as a "last request" and Doom just unwittingly accepts. Was Doom simply not aware of Roger's low tolerance to whiskey or did he, perhaps, underestimate it? Were Contractual Genre Blindness and/or Bond Villain Stupidity in play given his true nature as a toon?
When The Reveal of Judge Doom being a Toon comes up, Eddie screams the subject of the reveal in shock, then immediately backpedals and claims he's not surprised. Did he simply piece things together in the few seconds between those statements, or was he too embarrassed to have not made the connection before and is just trying to save face?
Bob Hoskins spends much of the movie talking to cartoons while pulling off a comedic while troubled character with a flawless New York accent. (Keep in mind acting with cartoons is significant because he had to act against air and voice actors NOT in his eyeline to film scenes with cartoons).
The film itself was omitted from Best Picture and Best Director nominations (even though Robert Zemeckis was able to earn recognition from the Directors' Guild of America), likely stemming from a bias against its cartoon elements. The film ended up tying Best Picture winner Rain Man for most wins at the Oscars that year, with fournote three were competitive, one was a special award given to Richard Williams for his art direction[[//note]] - which can either be seen as a way of lessening the Award Snub or exacerbating it.
Awesome Art: Seriously, LOOK AT THE THING!!! Richard Williams did an incredible job.
Awesome Music: No surprise, as we have Alan Silvestri to thank, but this is possibly one of his best scores ever. His version of Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!, to name just one, makes you do just what the song instructs you to do.
With his menacing, ruthless demeanor; his cruel, abusive behavior; the dreadful, eerie score that accompanies him and the fact that you see him straight-up KILL a Toon during his introductory scene, who would've thought Judge Doom would be the Big Bad?
Zig Zagged. Judge Doom being a Toon is indeed a surprise, but some foreshadowing waters down the shock. The fact Eddie wasn't all that surprised should tell you this. However, The Reveal that he is the same Toon who killed Eddie's brother is effectively shocking and disturbing.
Dancing Bear: The movie was sold on the spectacle of animated and live action characters seamlessly integrated across a cameo-laden full-length feature film. As it turns out, this worked great, the writing and acting were strong enough to carry it off, and the movie was and is considered to be pretty good.
A big part of the popularity of the Toon Patrol is that their coolness in being the bad boy causes them to be viewed as attractive in fangirl eyes.
Averted with Judge Doom, whose only reactions is trauma and terror despite being a cool villain likely due to his true Toon nature.
Ear Worm: The jazz music subtly playing in the background of most scenes.
Ensemble Darkhorse: The entire Toon Patrol has a surprisingly large fanbase. Admittedly most of them are Furry Fans but for villainous characters who not only never get named, but also don't even survive the movie, Smart Ass and his squad sure have a lot of fans.
Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: The light-hearted film makes a surprising amount of sense as an allegory for racism, with toons standing in for black people (as argued by for instance Cracked). It's set in 1940s Los Angeles with toons being treated as second-class citizens mostly living in their own segregated part of town, whose occupations consist of entertaining white folks, Eddie Valiant as a Tragic Bigot against toons but somewhat confused by his attraction to Jessica (due to attitudes against miscegenation), Judge Doom as an Uncle Tom character, and the whole Evil Plan of the Boomerang Bigot villain is basically a gentrification scheme.
Fanon: On Tumblr at least, many view Jessica Rabbit as asexual.
The Dip is made of chemicals (turpentine, acetone and benzene) which are widely used as cleaners to dissolve dried oil paints and India inks of the type used on animation cels of the period. They were what were used to clean animation cels for later reuse.
Those familiar with Arthurian mythology will spot the connection behind Eddie grabbing the Singing Sword: That particular blade was the weapon of choice of Sir Valiant.
Most of the random Toon cameos (especially in Toontown) become that much more rewarding if you've seen obscure 1930's and 1940's cartoons (like Disney's Silly Symphonies or Warner Bros' Merrie Melodies.)
In one scene, Jessica Rabbit tells Eddie Valiant, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way." Imagine that after 23 years, one defense lawyer said the same thing about Amanda Knox when comparing her with Jessica during the appeals trial in that she was no Femme Fatale. Amazingly, it was the same "Jessica Rabbit" defense that got Knox and her co-defendant cleared of murder.
Twice, there are lines that can be construed as referring to films released later in The Renaissance Age of Animation; one is the weasels' hyena cousins, and the other is a throwaway line about Quasimodo. These films would not be released for six to eight years, and naturally were not actually being referenced[[note]]In the case of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Roger was referencing either the original Victor Hugo novel, or the 1939 film version, which had been the most recent movie adaptation of the story to date at the time the events of this movie take place., but it adds a level of depth to the film to work in movies that hadn't been released yet.
Jessica saying that she loved Roger more than any woman's ever loved a rabbit is a lot funnier and more risque since Sex and the City popularized Vibratex' "Rabbit Pearl" vibrator.
For a given value of "Hilarious," Judge Doom's rhapsodic monologue on this new thing called a "Freeway," which will make traffic jams a thing of the past. Yeah, Los Angeles traffic is so much better now, Judge...
He Really Can Act: As mentioned under Award Snub, it's easy to forget that Bob Hoskins spends 95% of the movie talking to invisible characters. All of the special effects in the movie wouldn't have worked if not for his dedicated performance.
Ho Yay: Between Roger Rabbit and Eddie. They kiss, twice.
Hype Backlash: The general opinion is that it's a great film that kickstarted a new era of animation being recognized as art as well as entertainment, but there are professionals and fans who blame Spielberg for changing a cottage industry into a corporate giant (albeit still one with a small reference pool) that doesn't allow for new talent and only cares about making money and selling tickets.
Judge Doom is the Toon that killed Eddie's brother.
The fact that Roger's wife isn't another cartoon rabbit but a sexy cartoon woman is supposed to be a surprise, but virtually nobody sees Jessica's first appearance unspoiled.
Jerkass Woobie: Eddie Valiant. Yeah, he's alcoholic, grumpy and rude. But seeing his tragic backstory where his brother has been killed by a toon - a fact who turned him into a depressive lonely man in contrast to the great Toontown detective he used to be - that shouldn't be a surprise.
Older Than They Think: Although the song "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!" is often associated with this movie, it predates the movie by several decades, as it debuted in the eponymous 1931 Merrie Melodies short.
The Game Boy version is decent enough (interestingly, Roger solves his own case with the help of his ever-present magnifying glass), but the NES game is infamous for two reasons: the "phone number" Eddie uncovers to call Jessica Rabbit which, when dialed, is supposed to provide players with a clue, is currently a 1-900 number. And two, it was developed by Rare, making it an Old Shame to boot due to their pre-Nintendo days being associated with three, LJN Toys, who was and still is notorious for publishing games that enforced this trope; The Angry Video Game Nerd looked at the game twice and discovered the phone number and a bonus with it detailed below on his second try.
Soltenga: The original intent of the number has long since been discontinued in lieu of a sex chat hotline, but that's arguably a more preferable idea to playing this game.
The home computer version for the Amiga and Atari ST is arguably even worse than the NES game. Half of the game is made up of driving stages that somehow manage to make their notoriously bad NES counterparts seem decent by comparison, with the remainder consisting of a table-setting minigame that moves too fast to be any fun, and a fight with the weasels and Judge Doom that is again less fun than the already annoying NES fight. On top of all that, the ST port suffers from washed-out graphics and a horrendous frame rate.
Retroactive Recognition: It took people who originally watched this film as kids some years and a little bit of growing up to recognise that the menacing terrifying Judge Doom was played by the same man who gave us the lovely, friendly and hilarious Doc Brown in Back to the Future.
Jim Cummings is a voice acting legend today, so it's a little jarring to see that in a love letter to classic cartoons, he only has a bit part as one of the Dum-Dum Rounds in Eddie's toon revolver. Back then, he was a bit of a nobody.
When Valiant finds Roger in his bed, the edge stays pressed down like Roger is leaning on it when he isn't, then suddenly pops back up several seconds later.
When Roger sobs over the photos of his wife with Acme in Maroon's office, you can clearly see the wires pulling the phones on the desk when Roger sits down to cry.
When Roger chases after Raul, begging to do the "refrigerator-on-the-head" scene one more time, Raul's coat sleeve floats to Roger's hand a tiny bit too early, leading to some viewers joking that Roger has The Force.
In some scenes where Valiant searches after Jessica Rabbit in Toon Town, sharp-eyed viewers might notice the blue-screen effects makes him slightly transparent, causing the background to be visible behind him.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: After spending the first two acts of the movie as an important interesting supporting character, Dolores just disappeared in the final two arcs and completely lost plot relevance until the very end.
An intentional case, Judge Doom's real eyes. By all accounts, it worked.
Even before the big reveal, Doom's appearance and mannerisms are... off. The makeup job applied to Lloyd made his skin appear to not be quite real somehow, and the stiffness of his movements and the stiltedness of his expressions were all designed to call attention to the fact that there was something just not right about the character. There's also the fact that his cape is always fluttering slightly even when there is no wind. Christopher Lloyd was given specific instructions never to blink on camera; as a result any time you see his eyes, they always have this unnatural stare.
As great as the animation is, it's being almost entirely on ones can make it appear a little too fluid and a little hard on the eyes after a while. Justified in that it has to match up to the live footage, which is also 24 fps.
All the animation was done the old-fashioned way: hand-drawn on paper, 98% on ones, then painted on real cels, and then sent off to ILM to be optically composited, along with separately-animated shadows and highlights, into the live-action footage!
All of the effects are practical: every single prop or piece of scenery being manipulated by a toon, from Roger running through a window to make a Roger-shaped hole to the piano playing to something as innocuous as a toon lifting a drink to their mouth, required either highly-skilled puppeteers or a machine invented solely for that movement to be placed on-set as a stand-in for the non-existant toon!
And with the exception of the blue-screened Toon Town, not one computer was used!note The music for the player pianos was fed through a computer, but the visuals were still 100% practical.
What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Where do we even start? In general, the whole film feels like an attempt to tear down the Animation Age Ghetto, what with the Double Entendres out the wazoo. Also has the most frightening reveal in an animated film yet. The general assumption is that the movie would've gotten a PG-13 rating had it been released today, and it did in fact get a TV-14 rating when it aired on ABC Family. That didn't stop the movie from being popular with families, or for Disney to produce Roger Rabbit-related merchandising under the parent brand (the movie was released under the Touchstone Pictures label).